Name of Activity Dinosaur Tail
Author Mike Mogenson, Amanda Stockwell
Keywords dinosaur, tail, wag, Simple Machines, 1 Hour Total, piston, pulley wheel
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Build a dinosaur tail that wags.
Lesson Objectives: To learn about sturdy building and building moving parts.
To learn about pistons and translating rotational motion into linear motion.
Materials Needed: – Simple Machines LEGO kits
Preparation and Set Up: – Arrange students in pairs.
– Distribute LEGO kits.
– Build Demo tail.
Necessary Background Vocabulary:
– Piston
– Pulley Wheel
  1. Demonstrate to students how to build a moving tail.
  2. Let students build their own dino tail. Allow students to be creative when building the tail. Let students experiment with different pulley wheels and pivot positions to create different movements.
  3. If time, motorize the dinosaur tail.
  4. At the end of the class gather students and discuss the activity:
    1. How does the diameter of the pulley wheel change the motion of the tail?
    2. How does the distance between beam pivot and piston connection change the motion of the tail?
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